tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN January 29, 2014 8:00pm-10:01pm EST
[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] >> tine >> the house debates a five-year farm bill and president obama savings during a visit to a pennsylvania steel mill. director of national intelligence james clapper called on nsa leaker edward snowden to return any remaining intelligence documents. here is a one of several chiefs briefing congress on national security threats. centers heard about threats from al qaeda affiliated groups in syria. the senate select intelligence committee hearing is an hour and 45 minutes.
>> the meeting will come to order. i will say at the outset that we hold this hearing to provide information to the public on the intelligence community's assessment of threats facing our nation. i ask that everyone in this room remove any signs you may have and refrain from any disruption during the hearing so that the committee can conduct the hearings and people sitting behind you can see. i will ask the capitol police to remove anyone who disrupt this proceeding. today inittee meets open session to hear the annual report from the united states intelligence community on the
threats to the nation security and let me start by welcoming the witnesses. they are the director of national intelligence, james clapper, the director of the central intelligence agency, john brennan. the director of the federal bureau of investigation, jim tommy, the director of the defense intelligence agency, lieutenant general michael flynn, and the director of the national counterterrorism center, matt olson. every year at this hearing, members and intelligence officials alike talk about how the threats to the united states are more varied and complex than ever before. this year is no exception. all thehan listing sources of instability and proliferation of weapons capable of causing physical and computer damage, i would like to focus my opening remarks on the threats posed by terrorism. thanks in large part to the
efforts of the men and man of the intelligence community, there have been no terrorist attacks against -- in the u.s. homeland since our last thread hearing. numerous plots have been prevented. i am concerned that this success has led to a popular that the threat has diminished. it has not. the presence of terrorist groups including those formally affiliated with al qaeda and others has spread over the past year. while the threat emanating from pakistan's tribal areas has diminished due to persistent counterterrorism operations, the threat from other areas has increased. in fact, terrorism is at an all- time high worldwide. if you include attacks by crips
like the taliban against the u.s. military and our coalition forces, according to the nations consortium for the study of terrorism and response to terrorism, at the university of maryland which is the source for the state department's official tallies, there were more than a thousand 400 terrorist attacks. the instability that spread through north africa and the this leads to an increase in the terrorist presence and terrorist safe havens throughout the region. molly continuend to see regular violence. recent terrorist attacks and of western iraq
are of great concern. well has improved, they continue to find safe havens in these countries where they remained very ill and. al qaeda and the arabian remain intent on attacking the united states and al-shabaab which merged with al qaeda in february of 2012 continues to plot against western targets in east africa. think the most notable developments since last year's hearing is actually in syria. which has become a magnet for foreign fighters and for terrorist activities. the situation has become so dire centraln al qaeda's leader has renounced the activities of one group as being too extreme to countenance.
because large swathes of the country of iraq are beyond the regime's control or that of the moderate -- of syria are beyond the regime's control or that of the moderate opposition, this leads to the major concern of the establishment of a safe haven and the real prospect that syria could become a launching point or waystation for terrorists seeking to attack the united states or other nations. not only are fighters being drawn to syria, but so are technologies and techniques that pose particular problems to our defenses. also concerned about afghanistan and the drawdown of u.s. and isaf forces. the committee has heard the intelligence community's of the likely
outcomes for the future. especially of the bilateral security agreement is not signed in the u.s. is not able to commit significant personnel and resources beyond 2014. i am particularly concerned that the afghan government will not be able to prevent the return of al qaeda elements to some parts of the country and the taliban's control over afghan territory will grow. the vice chairman and i were in afghanistan in 2012 and he has just returned. i saw schoolgirls walking home with their white headdress and brilliant smiles on their faces on the streets of kabul. i also met women serving in the afghan .arliament i saw their courage and devotion and i am deeply concerned that 2014, ifars following
president karzai or someone else does not sign a bilateral security agreement among all the gains for democracy for women's rights will evaporate. i am going to skip some of this and put it in the record. as your testimony makes clear today, there are numerous confounding and complicated threats out there that need devoted attention. the intelligence community was -- has been through a very difficult time. i would like to thank the men and women of the united states intelligence community for their service to this country. it is very much appreciated by this committee. i also would like to note to colleagues that director clapper came before us in closed session two weeks ago and went through a series of classified matters and we discussed what the ic is
doing about them. he and other witnesses are available to answer classified questions in closed sessions but the point of today's hearing is to focus on the unclassified details of the threat we face and to provide the american people with a better sense of how our intelligence community views them. >> thank you.
we cannot let afghanistan suffer the same fate as erect. we must not withdraw from the fight before we finish what we went there to do. recent press articles suggest that we may week behind a force of eight to 12,000 american wouldry personnel which likely require continued support from the intelligence community. we have come a long way denying a safe haven to al qaeda. and building up the security forces of our afghan partners. we must not commit the same mistake of losing what the president termed a must win war. assuming we have a signed bilateral agreement, we must assume military assistance to it does not go the way of erect.
the growth of affiliates remains a big concern. the reason we went into afghanistan in the first place was to remove the safe haven talibanand the provided to al qaeda. the instability seems to be fueling a new reading ground for terrorism. especially in places like syria. as we fight these changing threats we must not lose sight of the national security challenges caused by our nation and regionalries instability. as we look to the intelligence committee to give us a clear reading on what is happening now, we also expect that you will look over the horizon to tell us about the impending threats. in this context, recent discussions to limit your abilities to gather information are troubling. i would like an honest thessment from each of you potential impact of these decisions. we have to make sure that the
community can effectively provide warning and protection for all of this country's national security interest now and in the future. it is a joint responsibility of congress and the administration to ensure that we prioritize our efforts appropriately. state and nonstate cyber actors of and ever evolving list proliferators and criminals will continue to try to do us harm. at any given time the intelligence community has to know which of these threats presents the greatest potential harm. i look forward to hearing the details of what those threats are and what is being done to address them and how we as your partners in this effort can assist. thank you. >> i thank you. i would like to announce that
last night we announced the early bird rules would prevail today. andnt to welcome the panel director, it is my understanding you have a joint statement for the gentleman and yourself. these proceed. my colleagues and i are here to present the worldwide threat assessment as we do every year. topics iner five eight minutes on behalf of all of us. this is my fourth appearance before the committee to discuss the threats we face. i have made this next assertion previously but it is more evident and relevant than today i have not experienced a time when we have been he said by more crises and threats around the globe. my list is long. it includes the scourge and diversification of terrorism loosely connected and now the will bleed dispersed.
syria, thisn war in attraction as a growing center threatemism and this that this poses to the homeland. this bill over in lebanon and direct, the destabilizing flood and the implications of the drawdown in afghanistan. the deteriorating security posture in iraq, the growth of foreign cyber capabilities and the proliferation of mass -- weapons of mass destruction. dangerous and unpredictable north korea, lingering ethnic divisions in the balkans, perpetual conflict and extremism in africa. violent political struggles in thailand, and bangladesh. the specter of mass atrocities and increasing stress of burgeoning populations, the urgent demands for energy,
water, and food. the increasing this -- sophistication of transnational crime, the tragedy of human trafficking, the and sent -- the rot of invented synthetic drugs the growth of drug-resistant bacteria. i could go on with this litany ,ut we live in a complex dangerous world and the statements that we submitted especially the classified urgent provide a comprehensive review of these and other daunting challenges. my second topic is what has concerned -- consumed time and energy. i am speaking about the most massive and damaging theft of our
intelligence by edward snowden and the avalanche of revelations published and broadcast around the world. i will not dwell on the debate about his motives or legal standing.
or on the supreme irony associated with his choice of freedom loving nations and beacons of free expression from what an rail about orwellian state he thinks this has become. i want to speak
about the cofounder damage his disclosures have caused and continue to cause. the nation is less safe. what he has stolen and exposed has gone way beyond his professed concerns with so- called domestic surveillance programs. as a result we have lost critical foreign intelligence collection sources including some shared by us -- with us by valued partners. terrorists are going to school on u.s. intelligence sources and tradecraft and the insights they are getting or making our job much harder. this includes putting the lives of members or assets of the intelligence community at risk as well as our armed forces, diplomats, and citizens.
we are beginning to see changes in the communications behaviors of adversaries.
particularly terrorists. and then -- a disturbing trend which i anticipate will continue. hislaims he has won and mission is accomplished. i call on him to [indiscernible] to prevent even more damage to u.s. security. i want to comment on the ensuing fallout. it pains me greatly that the national security agency and its workforce have been pilloried in public commentary. i started and the profession 50 years ago and members of my family and i have worked at nsa so this is deeply personal to me. noted in hisent the menn the 17th am a and women have worked to protect this country in a lawful manner.
not to target the e-mails and phone calls of u.s. citizens. the agency does collect foreign intelligence. the whole reason nsa has existed since 1950 two. performing critical missions that i am sure the american people want it to carry out. the effects of the disclosures has heard the entire intelligence committee -- community. critical capabilities in which the u.s. has invested are at be curtailedy to or eliminated because of compromised or conscious decision. the impact of the losses caused the disclosures will be amplified by the substantial budget reductions we are incurring. the stark consequences of this perfect storm are plainly evident. the intelligence community is going to have less capacity to protect our nation and its allies that we have had.
i am compelled to note the negative impact on the ic workforce. appreciate the men and women of the intelligence community and we will convey that to all of them. this leads me to my fourth point. we are faced with collectively and i mean this committee, the congress at large, the executive ranch and all of us in that community, the imperative to if dealing risk. with reduced capacities is what we need to ensure the faith and competence of the american people and their representatives then we will work as hard as we expectationshe before us. that brings me to my fifth and final
point. the major take away for us from
the past several months as we must lean in the direction of transparency wherever and whenever we can. the greater transparency about these programs, the american people may be more likely to accept them. the president set the tone and direction for us in his speech as well as in his landmark directive. a major hallmark of which is transparency. conjunctionng in with the attorney general to conduct further declassification additionalvelop protections and modify how we conduct election of telephone metadata under section 215 of the patriot act and ensure oversight of sensitive collection activities. we will need your support in making these changes. of this, we must and will sustain our professional tradecraft and integrity. we must continue to protect our crown jewel sources and methods so we can
account push what we have always been chartered to do
, protect the lives of american citizens here and abroad from them. it's a described at the beginning of the statement. will conclude and we're are ready to address your questions. rex thank you. thank you for being so upfront. syria has become a significant location for independent or a qaeda aligned groups to recruit, train, and equipped the growing number of extremists, some of whom might conduct external attacks. , how you respond to this concerned should we be about europeans or even americans training in syria and traveling back to the west to carry out
attacks? rex we should be very concerned about this. serious has become a huge magnet for extremists. engaged ins who are syria itself, 1600 different groups. we estimate somewhere in the neighborhood of between 75000 and 110,000 of which funny thing -- 26,000 week grade as extremists. of 7000ate an excess foreign fighters have been attracted from 50 countries. many of them in europe and the mideast. this is of great concern not only to us but to those countries. withur recent engagements foreign interlocutors especially in europe. of tremendous concern for these extremists who are attracted to
syria, engage in combat and get training and we're seeing the appearance of training complexes in syria to train people to go back to their countries and conduct more terrorist act. this is a huge concern to all of us. >> thank you very much. mr. olson. i would like to know what your assessment is of the threat to the olympic games and whether you believe our athletes will be safe. i would like director call me -- comey to respond to the level of cooperation between the russians and the fbi with respect to security at the olympic games. >> thank you very much. let me say i appreciate your leadership and your focus on terrorism and the leadership of
the entire committee. , i agree with director clapper's assessment of the situation in syria. as you made out in your statement, the accommodation of a permissive environment and extremist groups in the number of foreign fighters combined to make syria a place that we are concerned about. potential for terrorist attacks emanating from syria to the west. with respect to your question, we are focused on the so chelan picks and we have seen in up take in the threat reporting regarding sochi. this is what we expected given where the olympics are located. there are a number of extremists in that area. a group which is the most prominent terrorist group in russia. the leader of that group last july announced in a public message that the group would intend to carry out attacks in sochi in connection with the olympics. we have seen a number of attacks
stemming from last fall, suicide bombings that took a number of lives. we are focused on the problem of terrorism in the run-up to the olympics. i would add that i traveled to sochi last december and met with russian security officials. they understand the threat. they are focused on this and devoting substantial resources. the biggest issue from my perspective is not the games themselves, the venues themselves. there is extensive security at those locations, the sites of the events. the greater threat is to softer targets in the greater sochi area and the outskirts beyond sochi where there is a substantial potential for a terrorist attack. >> would you tell us what you can about cooperation between russia and your organization? click certainly. the cooperation between the fsb
been steadily improving. we have ad exchanges at all levels especially in connection me directlyncluding to my counterpart and we have a good level of cooperation there. it can always improve. we are looking for ways to improve it as are they. remains a big focus of the fbi. >> thank you. mr. vice chairman. >> thank you, madam chair. core al qaeda has been on a downward trajectory since 2008 and their ability to conduct con plex dance complex and sophisticated attacks has been degraded. at the same time you assess that aqap poses a significant threat and remains on -- intent on targeting the u.s. and interests overseas. i would like to have your first start off but i will -- i want
kind of a general discussion about al qaeda. not just core al qaeda but there threat to the u.s. domestically and overseas. each of you have kind of a different interest. with respect to homegrown terrorists in the future there. these are the questions i would like for you to address. how would you characterize the probability of an al qaeda sponsored or inspired attack against the u.s. homeland today as compared to 2001? if al qaeda is evolving from a centralized core group to goebel movement of multiple organizations, capable of attacking the u.s., would you say the threat has decreased or increased? has the threat diminished or increased and what is the impact
on limitations that are proposed to be put on sections 215 and 702 likely to have on the future of the intelligence community with regard to collection? director? >> thank you. while the ideological center of the al qaeda movement i think still remains in the font to -- operationalocus for planning has disbursed. there are some five different franchises at least in 12 that this movement has morphed into and we see sort of chapters of it. somalia, and north africa
and syria, etc. many of these movements, while essentially locally focused him a probably the most prominent one that has an external focus on the root -- homeland remains which poses the most immediate threat to a potential attack on the homeland. the probability of attack now 2001 at least for me is a very hard question to dispersionuse this and diffusion of the threat whereas we are very focused time period onat
al qaeda. we are facing a much more dispersed threat. but we spoke about before, what is going on there may be a new fatah force. what is going on and the attraction of these foreign fighters is very worrisome. cannot pass he ly,iration -- aspirational [inaudible] i can't say the threat is any less. the ability to discern it is much improved over what it was of 2000.rly part creates adispersion
harder threat to watch and detect because of its dispersion. that ourar as well collection capabilities are not as robust as they were. the terrorists and this is not specifically because of edward snowden's revelations how wetten smarter about go about our business and how we use tradecraft to detect them and to sort them. what impacts the changes that will accrue, particularly can with respect to 215 and tools we have, we can minimize the threat as we make these modifications and alterations. in general, this is bighand,
little map. we are going to have less capacity than we had in the past and that is occasioned by the changes we are going to make the significant budget cuts we are taking and those two things together as i alluded to in my oral statement, kind of the perfect storm we will contend with. the bottom line is we will have and be eyes wide open about identifying risk and managing it. let me turn to my colleagues. >> we need to rely on building capacity. the terrorists are becoming more sophisticated and they're going to school on that repeated disclosures and leaks. it has allowed them to burrow in and made it difficult to find
to address the threats they pose. when i look at the threat relative to 9/11 we have done a great job of addressing vulnerabilities that exist in the system and share architecture that allows us to move information quickly but you never know what you do not know. with the increasing diversity of the threat and gross of terrorist elements in places like syria and yemen, we have a number of fronts that we need to confront simultaneously. much. >> thankry you. thank you for joining us today. i want to thank you for purchasing fading in this open hearing on worldwide threats. i know it is not always easy to talk about some of these things in an unclassified setting but i appreciate your willingness to try. i want to publicly thank the men
and women of the intelligence community who am a day in and day out, dedicate themselves to keeping us all safe. that a thankless job simple expression of gratitude cannot capture but we fully appreciate their efforts. before get you my questions, i want to publicly note my continued disappointment with how the cia under your leadership has chosen to engage in -- and interact with this committee especially as it relates to the committee's study of the cia's detention and interrogation program. recent efforts undertaken by the cia including, but not limited to, inaccurate public statements about the study are meant to intimidate, deflect, and thwart legitimate oversight. it only makes me more firm and my conviction that the committee should release and declassified the full 6300 page study with minimal reductions so that the public can judge the facts for themselves. , want to plug my colleague
senator rockefeller for making significant efforts to bridge the chasm between the committee and the director on some of these issues. it does not appear to be in the director's nature to accept these overtures, frankly. i think that is incredibly unfortunate. i am fully confident in the factual accuracy of the report and nothing in your response so far has persuaded me otherwise. director brennan, let me get to a few questions. on march 16 2009, 1 of your predecessors leon panetta announced the creation of a director's review group for rendition, detention, and interrogation. to be led by well respected senior cia officer and supervisor -- supervised by senator [inaudible] who passed away.
do you know when and why the pen review group was disbanded? >> first of all i respectfully but vehemently disagree with your characterization of the cia's cooperation with this committee. i am fully prepared to come forward to this committee any time it requests my appearance . italk about that study think related to the issue that you just raised in terms of questions, all committee members are in receipt of some information i have provided recently to the chairman and vice chairman on this issue. i look forward to addressing these matters with committee at the appropriate time and not at a threat assessment committee. >> i believe that is appropriate. >> it does not fully answer the question and i'm not sure that i when and why the group
was disbanded. happy to address that question at the time when the committee leadership requests that information from me. >> thank you. i think that is appropriate for classified session. >> let me move on and change gears to edward snowden. the revelations by edward snowden regarding u.s. intelligence collection have obviously caused some tensions with our european allies. allies everopean collected intelligence against business people or those of other allied nations? >> they have. i could go into more detail on that in a classified session. >> that is fine. it wouldnounced that extend edward snowden's asylum and not force him to leave their country. do you believe the russians have gained access to the documents that edward snowden stole which obviously -- many of which have not been released publicly,
fortunately? >> this might be last -- best our classified session. >> that is fine. thank you. >> thank you very much. the me start by saying that the men and women of america's intelligence agencies
are overwhelmingly dedicated confessionals and they deserve to have leadership that is trusted by the american people. unfortunately, that trust has been seriously undermined by recklessficials' reliance on secret interpretation is -- interpretations of the law. protectements did not
sources and methods that were useful in fighting terror create instead, they hid bad policy and violations of the liberties of the american people. for example, the director of the nsa said publicly that the nsa does not hold data on u.s.
citizens. that was obviously untrue. justice department officials section 215 is analogous to grant subpoena authority. that statement was made on multiple occasions. they suggested the nsa does not have the authority to read email without a warrant. for purposes of trying to move this dialogue along because i do not think this culture of misinformation is going to be
easily fixed, i would like to get into several other areas where the government's interpretation of the law is still not clear. abiding clapper, lob americans -- law-abiding americans want to protect the privacy of their communications and
i see a clear need to strengthen protections for information sent over the web or stored in the cloud. declassified court documents show that in 2011, the nsa sought and obtained the authority to go through communications collected with respect to section 702 of the foreign intelligence and surveillance act and conduct warrantless searches for the communications of specific americans. you tell us today whether any searches have a written -- have ever been conducted? hearing,k at a threat
i would prefer not to discuss this and have this as a separate subject. there are complex legal issues ise that i do not think this the appropriate time to discuss. >> one with that time be?
i tried with written questions a year go to get answers. we were stonewalled on that. this committee cannot do oversight if we cannot get dreck dancers. when we give the american people and unclassified answer to that question that relate strictly to their privacy? -- soon,n as we can sir. >> what would be wrong with 30 days? >> that is fine. >> thank you. that is making some progress. director brennan, question with respect to policy. does the federal communications -- computer fraud and abuse act apply to the cia? this is a yes or no question. >> i would have to look into
and itst act calls for applicability to authorities. i would be happy to get back to. >> how long would that take? a week question mark rex i think i could get that back to you
am a yes. >> very good. i would like to ask you about the government has authority to track individuals using things like cell site location information and smart phone applications. last fall the nsa director testified that week, the nsa, identify a number and we could give that to the fbi. probable get there cause, they could get the locational information they need. asking the nsa to clarify these are marks but it has not happened yet. to havebi required probable cause in order to cell siteericans'
information for intelligence purposes? alln all -- almost circumstances we have to obtain
a quarter to. we have to show relevance to the investigation. >> you do not have to show where -- noble cause. is that standard different if the government is collecting the location information from a smart phone app rather than a cell phone tower? >> i probably ought to ask someone who is smarter on the standards that governs those. >> my time is up. can i have an answer to that within a week? >> you sure can. >> thank you. overinadvertently skipped your name and called on senator wyden. it is your moment. >> good morning to you and thank you for being here. i want to make it clear how much this committee respects and
admires the hard-working members of the community. everyone keeps this worldwide threat assessment handy. it is not reading that put you to sleep. it is reading that gets your attention. i want to thank you and your team for putting this together. i did want to pick up on senator heinrich's questioning. we are back in operation here. you know the long history of our committee's study of detention and interrogation programs. i would like to put my statement in the record that walks us through that record. i did want to focus initially on the cia internal review. some people call it the panetta review. were you aware of this internal
review when you provided the official response to this committee in june of last year? wouldot have much time, i appreciate a yes or no answer. >> it was not a review. it was a summary. at the time, i had not gone through it. >> it strikes me as a bit improbable given that you knew about the internal review and you spoke to us and stated that your obligation as a c.i.a. director was to make sure that the cia's response was as thorough and accurate as possible. move tocontext, let me the next question. does the information in the internal review contradict any of the positions included in your june 2013 response to the committee? >> i respectfully would like to say i do not think this is the proper format for that. tiscussion -- for that r discussion. i look forward to addressing these questions with committee
at the appropriate time. >> let me make sure you --erstand. are you seeing saying that the officers that were asked to produce this internal review got it wrong, the committee got it wrong. we had a 6300 pages, 6 million 3000 footnotes. >> i said there were things in that report that i disagreed with. they were things they agreed with. i look forward to working with the committee on the next steps in that report. i stand by my statement. i am prepared to do with the committee to make sure that we are able to address the issue of the rendition and interrogation program at the appropriate time. i look forward to it. i still have two minutes remaining.
let me move to the snowden disclosures and what i think has asn a clearly out lined [inaudible] this committee was created to address the severe breach of trust that developed when it was revealed the cia was conducting unlawful domestic searches create the church committee went to work and found that to be true. i want to be able to reassure the american people especially given what has been happening that the cia and the director understand the limits of their mission and its authorities. the order.e of it prohibits the cia from engaging in domestic spying and searches of u.s. citizens within our borders. can you assure the committee that the cia does not conduct such domestic spying and searches? >> i can assure the committee that the cia follows the letter and the spirit of the law in terms of what the authorities
are in terms of its responsibilities to collect intelligence that will keep this country. yes, i do. me finish on the snow. we have an important opportunity when it comes to this vital review that we undertook. we can set the record straight. america is at its best when we acknowledge our mistakes
and learn from those mistakes. it is clear that the rendition and interrogation programs of the cia went over the line during the first decade of this century. i do not understand why we cannot work together to clarify forward andto move in so doing, acknowledge the tremendous work of those you lead and those that were tasked in this committee to oversee. i am hopeful that we can find our way forward on this
important matter. thank you. >> i hope you can, too, sir. apologize to senator collins. i did not indicate initially that we would go back and forth. list is who got here first. it is senator mikulski next and then senator collins. >> i would be happy to yield to senator collins. the chairman of the appropriations committee always goes first. >> please proceed. hererst of all, to those at the panel and other members of agencies representing the intelligence community like homeland security, i want to echo my thanks and support for all the employees who work in the intelligence immunity. general clapper, i want to say to you i recall last year's
hearing. you asked for flexibility for the intel committee as we face sequester. during this intense hearing today, i want you to know that oath the chairman and the vice chairman supported by the entire members of this committee worked with me to try to get flexibility for you. they were stopped by the house of representatives during the cr to get you that flexibility create i want you to know today youere united to try to get , and therefore the intelligence committee, that. we are on the side of the furlough anding sequester and so on. thanks to the budget agreement and will were able to do and the consolidated appropriations, we think that part is behind. we look forward to working with you as we listen to those needs. to the employees and no group of employees has been battered more than the many -- the men and women who work at
the national security agency. because of the illegal leaks, nsa has been battered and by de facto, so have the employees at the national security agency. we are all well aware that the morality extremely low because of budget impacts and the impact of snowden. let me go to my point. the men and women who work at the national security agency truly believe that what they do, under 215 and seven juror two is constitutional, is legal, was authorized, and was necessary. they felt they were doing a good job defending america. i would like to come to the constitutionality and engage your support and get your views. there are several legal opinions about the constitutionality of these programs. as we engage upon the reform
effort which i support review and reform, being
led by many members of this committee, that we need to determine the constitutionality. because of it is not constitutional, that is it. would general clapper, would you, consulting with the department of justice, white house, ask for an expedited review by the supreme court of the united states to determine the constitutionality of these programs so that we do not continually shop for the legal opinion that we want to my either one side or the other. l discuss this with the attorney general. protocolup on what the is forsaking a reading by the supreme court. >> is there a sense of urgency within the administration to seek such a constitutional determination? -- i cannothere is
speak for the administration. i would think there would be. to your point, throughout all of
this and all the controversy that we all felt and still feel that what we were doing was by allwas oversighted three branches of the government. a current fourth amendment ruling, when data is provided to a third party. >> there are 36 different opinions. 30 say -- 36 say it is constitutional. i respect the appeals process. i think we have got to get a constitutional ruling as quickly as possible. i think the american people are entitled to knowing that and the men and women at nsa need to
know that. -- need to know
that. -- agree more in on the need for clarity. they're trying to do the right thing. >> i would like to come to cyber security. target has been hit, neiman marcus has been hit, michaels, who knows what else. is that there is a confusion now between cyber security and surveillance. combing old. my question to you is, two things. is the impact of the snowden affair slowing us down in our aggressive ine the cyber security area, particularly as it relates to the american people by identity and the safety of their credit etc.
has the failure for us to pass cyber security regulatory -- has it been a contributing factor to the fact that international crime is now targeting us? >> thank you. with respect to the work being done by the men and women in law enforcement to respond to cyber threats, especially those around financial fraud and thrift, we are working as hard as ever to address those threats. what the storm around surveillance and the leaks has done is complicated the discussion about what tools we used to do that. in that respect it has made our life more complicated. the people need to realize that there is threat of fraud and theft because we have connected our entire lives to the internet and that is a place where we, using our law enforcement authorities, have to respond robustly. do you think congress needs
to respond legislation? >> i do. >> is there an urgency around aat or should we review as starting point for negotiation? >> there is. one of the critical parts of responding is information sharing. the private sectors sees the bad guys coming in. we need to make sure the private sector understands the rules of the road and how they share that information with the government. >> my time is up. i want to say also during the sequester and so on, i read these wonderful documents that came from voluntary organizations associated with the fbi. it was called "voices from the field." they were quite poignant and it shows that when they say the first line ofur defense is what we see at the table. would you think the agents for us? >> i will. thank you, senator. >> [inaudible] >> thank you. general plan, that inspired --
inspired the discussion today and in general. there has been very little focus on the damage that edward
snowden has done to our military. assessment,the dia and it is evident to me that most of the documents stolen by mr. snowden have nothing to do with the privacy rights and civil liberties of american nsazens, or even the collection programs. indeed, these documents, and we have heard the number 1.7 million documents, are in many cases multi--pages. if you printed them all and stacked them, they would be war then three might -- more than three miles high. i say that to give the public more information about how
thatordinarily extensive the documents he still were. they do not just pertain to the nsa. they pertain to the entire intelligence community. and include information about military intelligence, our defense capabilities, the defense industry. now, you are the you have also been deployed
for expensive period -- expensive periods in iraq. can you share of the committee your assessment of the impact that the damage that edward snowden has done to our military -- in particular, has he played
-- placed our men and women in military uniform at greater risk? quest things for that question. we have a session in a way that will go through the entire report. use toongest word i can describe how bad this is is that it has caused reason to -- grave damage to our national security. what are the costs that we are going to incur because of the scale and the scope of what hasn't taken by -- what has been customer --den snowden?
-- troops? >> yes. but thank
you. again.s good to see you we were together extensively. i want to turn to the impact of the snowden leaks on our nation possibility to connect the dots and to protect our citizens from terrorism. you address this issue at a recent conference. groupsu seen terrorist change their methods as the direct result of the disclosures of edward snowden? >> the answer to that is yes.
the terraced landscape has become increasingly complex. we have seen the geographic diffusion of groups and networks. that places
a premium on our ability to monitor communication. what we have seen in the last six-eight months is an awareness of these groups, unawareness of our ability to monitor awarenessions -- an of our ability to monitor communication. they are subject to our surveillance tactics. >> obviously that puts us at greater risk of an attack. >> it certainly puts us at risk of missing something that we are trying to see. it could lead to putting us at risk of an attack. you, you saidte this is not an exaggeration. this is a fact. you stand by that?
they are not recognize that the state of the union addresses. i hope we will continue to find ways that we can turn these challenging times around. i do extraordinary work protecting our country. andnt to take a moment follow-up up on what senator mikulski race. the challenges around cyber terrorism grow. a report was put out one year ago about challenges in china and russia. i believe you stated last year that you thought that the effect cyber attacks on america had an estimated cost close to $300 billion in economic damage. that is damage in terms of direct attack, and i also think that we see time and again cases where intellectual property is
taken. people can enter the marketplace, leapfrogging over research and design, because the steel our intellectual capital. we have seen a series of committees looking at some of the data breaches. we are talking about 70 million intentional loss of data with target alone. they were disproportionately ill equipped. this is an indication that industry by industry, these attackers can find the weakest link and even companies who are doing the right thing, their colleagues in the industry are not keeping up to the standards that best set and there is a challenge. set and there is a challenge. is there a higher number in terms of the economic threat, the intellectual capital threat,
or the personal information threat posed by these cyber activities? >> i think it is almost out whatble to figure the potential cost may be. this starts from the sheer difficulty of describing value to intellectual properties. is potential dollar value inestimable. totality.sider in its i cannot give you a good number. we have a hard time coming up with one. >> does anyone want to add a comment? >> the question i would have continuing down this lane, i am coming from the telecom sector. there is a concern about additional government regulatory burdens.
how you said it? what is the appropriate standard? having some standard, for the good actors, it aims to be a real economic challenge. one of the questions i would have for you in light of the data breach at target and neiman marcus, what does this say about the ability of the private after to keep the data -- sector to keep data secure? >> this is a good question. to senator mikulski cost point mikulski'sat senator point earlier, there was a lot of discussion and debate in congress about the need or cyber legislation. there has to be in my view, and i will ask others to speak to
this, a partnership between the government and the right sector. -- private sector. understanding the burdens that are placed, the regulatory burdens that are placed, on the private sector. the government cannot do all this by itself. sector, particularly if you are concerned about the piece of this that i am, for nation states like china or russia, which have the most sophisticated cyber capabilities , and the litany of other potential rats. -- threats. there are nonstate actors, foreign and domestic threats. the civilian sector is our first line of defense. in my opinion, there needs to be some way where we can depend usn that sector to report to to enable the government to help
them. i am the director to speak to this as well. >> that is what i meant in responding to senator mel of the about the movie work we have to do to protect -- senator mikulski about the work we have to do to protect the american people. we are patrolling a street with 50 foot high walls. we can see that the street is safe, but we are not used to the folks who need help behind his neighborhood. we have to find a way for them to tell us what is going on. we have to protect the american people. it gets caught up in this idea of the american and government -- the government wanting american people to operate. we want clear guidelines to make communities safer on the streets and in the neighborhoods. >> i know my time is up, but i think there with you. we need to get this collaboration and information on that information sharing is critical.
the challenge that these retailers saw, when do they cross that line and report to the public? is the public had a full understanding of how often and how many firms are under daily it would may be pale some of their concerns that they have about other activities owing on. that's going on. -- going on. >> senator rockefeller? >> thank you madam chair. i will make a statement. i will not ask a question. i feel something
strongly about so i have to make a statement. metadatadent announced should no longer be stored by the government. he asked the director of the nsa to work to come up with an alternative option. ultimately the decision rested with congress.
this senator absolutely opposes contracting out this core government obligation. what seems to be lost in this conversation is that every day we face a growing threat. it could cost american lives. the terrorist threat remains a real and ongoing. the government wants to protect americans from terrorist attacks. heart hard fact is that our national security interest do not change just because public opinion on the issue is fluctuating. metadata is not a private sector
responsibility. it is a fundamental core government functions. it should remain that way. i am concerned that any change of our current framework would harm national security and privacy. the president has made it clear that he understands our
intelligence needs, but i do not believe that he can come up with a better alternative. he just through to you. and ultimately to us. here is why. practically, we do not
have the technical capacity to do this. certainly it is impossible to do so without the possibility of massive mistakes or catastrophic privacy violations. there are hundreds of hundreds of technology companies. they have their niche is. -- niches. the prospects are daunting. they are ridiculous. they do not want to become agents of the government. they do not want to become the government passed guardians. they are stressing that. the telecom providers themselves do not want to do this. and for good reason.
the telecom companies do not take an oath of allegiance to protect domestically and internationally. it is not a small matter. it is a big matter. they are neither counterterrorism agencies or
protection organizations. they are businesses and they are interested in the bottom line. their focus on rewarding their shareholders, not protecting privacy or national security. i have served on the committee for 30 years. i know the telephone company sometimes make empty promises about the overproduction. -- consumer protections. i've been to every iteration of this. it is not happy. sometimes trumps their holding to their public commitment. my concern is about private providers retaining this information. it is heightened by
multibillion-dollar data industries. numbers, which are used to determine our personal one data broker holds as much as 75,000 different data point about each one of us. including our health and financial information. further involving the telephone providers would not only make the data subject to discovery, but there would be lawsuits and it would be vulnerable to theft by hackers. another powerful reason to be against private companies taking responsibility for a government function. reason loss athe target of consumer information does not reassure me. at all. should not move this
sensitive data to the private sector for intelligence purposes. it would not actually protect anything. moving away from the stringent audits. they have added on amendments. it makes it less vulnerable to abuse. that theyreiterate want no part of it. they had to. there was a blanket liability. that is a very different situation. this is not a foundation for a good partnership. under the existing system, there are only 22 supervisors. they are highly trained and skilled. there are 33 intelligence analyst who work specifically for this group. they are professionals.
they've have spent their careers trying to do this job well. they work at an extremely controlled environment. multiplesubject to overlapping checks and audits. these queries involve only anonymous numbers, no names. companies, private no one is listening to your conversations are reading your e-mail. the data is highly secure. of the data are conducted only by highly trained professionals. the telecom companies do not -- andese i could not could not train them for a very long time. last year, this committee works to significantly strengthen 215 oversight with the adoption of reforms to make the telecom providers open to being
searched. there were a whole new range of privacy concerns. this will threaten, not strengthen, our ability to protect his country. it is an invasion of privacy. i use my time, that i cannot tell you how strongly i feel about this. the president is in an interesting position. he said he wants to sleep -- keep collecting, but he does not want the government to maintain the metadata. then he started talking about another entity, a private entity. we have all agreed that that is an impossibility not yet created. what does that leave? it leaves the telecommunication companies and they do not want to. they should not have it. in the interest of national security. >> thank you very much for that
senator rockefeller. so that theint out public knows that senator rockefeller is chairman of the commerce committee. in my view, he knows what he is talking about. senator byrd? >> thank you for what you do day in and day out. the vice chairman said that he had the opportunity to be in afghanistan. we met with many people who work for you. they are doing a great job in a very challenging and difficult area of
the world. we are grateful for that. over the last several years, the committee has had some difficulty receiving timely briefings after significant event. briefings would happen within 24 hours according to you. moving forward, will you renew your commitment to the committee to read thoughts on this event in a timely fashion and art --
timely fashion? >> yes, we strive to do that. without getting into sensitive sources and methods,
how would you characterize the intelligence ability -- intelligence community impossibility to provide tactical warnings? >> that is a complicated question. we want to provide that level of tactical abilities. the nature of the threat comes significantly -- has become significantly more geographically spread out. that challenges the community and collecting the information that would abide that type of tactical warning. provide that type of tactical warning. the attack at the westgate mall in nairobi, that type of attack , a small number
of individuals, there was a great deal of pressure on us to provide a tactical warning. it is a focus of ours. we have increased our cooperation. as a community, we come together to do that. but as i said, it is difficult to provide levels of tactical warning that would provide the advance warning necessary to survive under those circumstances. >> thank you. >> without getting into statistics, how would you assess the counterintelligence capabilities of al qaeda? >> increasingly good. if you do some google searches for what has been disclosed and -- i go to school for that. they adapt their practices of orting late. -- they go to school for that.
they adapt their practices of courting leave. -- accordingly. >> thank you. can you assure this committee and congress and the american people that the fbi has and will continue to pursue the individuals who killed four americans in benghazi? >> absolutely. you have that commitment is a top priority. a lot of people are working hard on it. >> the ability to share actions that the bureau might have taken in this case are limited. i think i speak for the entire committee when i say that any time we can be briefed on progress, i hope you will do so. >> i saw one of my colleagues asked about cyber security. thought you had something you
wanted to contribute to that. let me give you that opportunity. offer on cyber security -- one of the other aspects that was mentioned was state actors. is a serious threat that we are paying close attention to. al qaeda is among them. many others are described as being transnational organized criminals. they are operating in the cyber domain. they have no rules. increasingly adapting to an environment that is actually benefiting them. well we definitely need to pay
to those places that have parity with us, but we have to pay very close attention to the nonstate actors who are doing things that have been described today. that is increasingly a growing trend. >> i want to thank all of you for your willingness to be here. i yield my time. >> senator burr? senator kaine? >> do you have an intelligence assessment of the impact of the interim agreement on iran's nuclear program? doesn't slow it it slow it, -- does pause itse it --
--will this have a real impact on the nuclear capability of iran? kaine -- will, senator king. we are concerned with the highly enriched uranium. yes it does. >> second question. 20th,ld us back on the the new sanctions would prospects of success of negotiations. the entire deal would be dead if the international community imposed new sanctions. is that your view? >> yes. it would be good to have them in reserve. we need them. but the imposition of more sanctions right now would be counterproductive. >> how do they remain in reserve?
>> the iranians understand our system. if weint there is that had additional sanctions right would live upans to their word. it would jeopardize the agreement. they understand that this is a subject of great interest in the u.s. congress. alone is a fact great incentive to treat clients with a bargain. meet new not sanctions? it is the knowledge that congress can impose them. >> that is my view, yes. >> thank you. you.er
question for there been suggestions from outside groups and we hear it all the time, section 215 does not produce anything useful. .e have had testimony
in order to assess this issue, which as senator rockefeller pointed out, the president has discussed, we want to weigh national security concerns and importance of the program against privacy and rights concerns from the public. there is large amounts of telephonic data in the government podcast. is the program effective?
does it make a difference? is it a good tool? >> it is unimportant. tool.is an important of thissing the measure is not necessarily a way to get at the value of the program. what it does is it allows us to eliminate the possibility of a terrorist nexus in a domestic
context. summer, when diplomatic facilities in the middle east closedsed -- were because it's right conditions, in the course of that we came across nine selectors that pointed to the united states. the use of the 215 tool allowed us to eliminate the possibility of a domestic nexus. tot is an important
way consider the value of the program. you have views on the significance of 215? this is not easy for this committee. the public is skeptical. to maintain it, we have to be convinced that it is effective. it is not just something that the intelligence community thinks is nice to have in their
tool cap. >> i totally understand people cost concerns. i believe it is a useful tool. its primary value is agility. minutess
us to do in what would otherwise take us an hour. i will explain what i mean. if a terrorist is identified in the united states, we want to understand if there's a network that we are facing. we take any telephone numbers connected to that terrorist absence ofin the 215, i would use the legal process that we use everyday. each of theng telephone companies, i would find out if there is a network connected to the terrorist. that would take hours. this tool allows us to do that in minute. circumstances, that would not be a material difference, except when it matters most. it is a useful tool because of the agility it offers.
it is a healthy discussion to talk about what might replace that. i want folks to understand what the trade-off
would be in that agility. that is what matters most to the fbi. >> thank you. that is very helpful. >> thank you madam chairman. i want to compliment you on how you put together your statement here. you have put cyber security at the top. this is the one open hearing we have every year. those of us on the panel spent a couple afternoons a week on that. the american public does not have an understanding of how important this threat is. i noticed you put it ahead of terrorism. you put it ahead of weapons of destruction. you wisely did that.
you said that the industrial control systems and data acquisition used for gas and oil pipeline and electrical distribution provides an enticing target for malicious actors will i could not agree with you more. is a real understatement of what the situation is out there certainly, they are attractive targets. more importantly than that, we have in our armor as you know. we do our best with firewalls. this is something that we have to get more diligent about. i bring this up because in my state, in idaho, there's nobody doing more in supervisory -- on supervisory control and data acquisition. we also have the transmission and distribution center that we use. we have a national user facility
at an fbi laboratory. the problem that i have done it since a lot of time there. the people there are grossly underfunded. that is true in all areas of government funding. we are all under tremendous pressure. we all know not -- we all know that. you have put this at the top of your priorities. i would urge you to review our priorities and funding and look at these particular operations. they are doing a lot of good work in this. that we truly do need to be more vigilant on. it is unfortunate that americans cannot hear the kind of thing that we hear that are really quite frightening as far as what the possibilities are. i would urge you to consider that. i appreciate you bringing this
to the forefront. >> thank you for that. it gives me a chance to say something about the entirety of the eel. that's the deal. deal. there is technical confidence there that is unmatched by anywhere else in the intelligence community. we have been trying to rationalize the way that we convey ending from being national intelligence -- funding from the national intelligence program. >> we appreciate that. we think the american people will appreciate that even though they cannot know all the deed is. -- details. the next remarks are directed at you. i have a constituent who is being held captive. i want to publicly thank you for
the exchanges and the and the frequent interchange between myself and your office. it is impossible to sit here and think about what this family is going through. we say that we can't understand it, and we really cannot. without getting into the classified material, or saying something unintentionally, that will impact his safety, we go a long way towards helping this family have some ease if you could reiterate publicly as you have to me privately, about what a high area of concern this is for the united states government to return it started to us personally. >> senator, thank you for reminding the american public about this sergeant and his
plate. every soldier that we have on the battlefield that is in a situation like that becomes our number one priority. 24 hours a day, seven days a week, there are dedicated resources doing everything we can to bring him home safe and sound. i would say to the family, i cannot imagine what they go through. they have our absolute commitment from all the leadership and i know i can see when i canble here say that we will bring him home safe and sound. >> thank you. >> when i was at the white house, i had the honor and privilege of meeting with the sergeant's mother and father. it was a moving experience. i told him then that we would do everything possible to bring
their son home safely. he is somebody who is on the front lines, keeping this country safe. i know that we are doing that. our thoughts and prayers are with his family, as well as with the sergeant. >> thank you from the bottom of our hearts. >> senator rubio. >> thank you for being here today. i want to touch on something that was touched upon last night. on the one hand, we keep hearing about how al qaeda had significantly degraded. on the other hand, we see that their power is now growing in a huge way in north africa and lebanon and the rea -- syria. there is a concern about fighters from syria returning to europe and other countries.
if this diffusion of their presence and power, does this mean they are bigger and a more complex challenge then when their core was centralized in one place? >> actually it is. dispersal and the growth of the so-called franchises into many other areas facte world, that plus the as we have also discussed today, they have gone to school on on how we try to track them. the combination of those factors, the geographic dispersal, and the increasing challenges makes al qaeda in all , is a verys formidable threat. >> i agree wholeheartedly. it is important to think about
the threat in a number of different ways. there is a core al qaeda group. --t is the group that bob brought forward 9/11. operation of that group is not what it was 10 years ago. it is the ideological leader of a movement that has spread. that movement that has read in terms of the geographic presence and a number of other countries across the middle east, it has spread in terms of diversity of actors. a number of those actors have a largely local or regional agenda. they do not necessarily pose a threat to us here at home. it has changed in the way that the director has stated. they have innovated and carried out attacks that are less complicated. smaller scale attacks that are harder for us to detect. in all of those ways, it is a more complicated and challenging threat. >> the second issue i wanted to focus on bothers me sometimes.
it is the romanticized notion about edward snowden and what he has done for this country. theave read things in papers about the 215 program. hass safe to say that he not to compromise operations, but americans and allies who are at risk because of the actions he has taken? >> absolutely. say -- arefe to there men and women in the military who are potentially harms way because of what this individual has done? >> i believe there are. >> is it safe to say that the revelations he has made is the greatest violation and the most significant harmful revelation of american intelligence in our history? >> yes sir.
that is how i would characterize it. >> i want to ask you quickly about asia. i returned from a trip to japan. they have made changes to their intelligence program. , whoever wouldnt be appropriate, and have it has increased our ability to partner with them. how do you see the opportunities to fully engage with the intelligence sharing given their increased capacity and the protections now afforded by law? >> i was aware of your visit. i appreciate your engagement. the japanese are emerging as great partners. the passage of this new protection law is going to do just what you have and for.
it will enable us to do more sharing of data. recentagreed upon a intelligence sharing arrangement where they will share with us and i will be happy to go into more detail about this. they are emerging as great intelligence partners. this extends to the prime minister. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. that completes the rounds. it is my understanding that members do not request a second rounds with one exception. that is senator wyden, who would like to ask a 10 second western. questions will be sent to the panel, and hopefully you will respond to them promptly. >> your 10 second is
upon you. >> this is a question for the record.
collection of these phone records by law-abiding americans, is it necessary to prevent terror. you said that it was because of its timeliness. as you know, the independent review condition that commission , said that it is not the case. they could get the data in a timely way without collecting all of these phone records from law-abiding americans. for the record, i asked this before as well, give us an example of a time when you have needed a record any relevant phone company did not have it? i want to say that that is possible within 30 days to have an answer to that. i have asked that repeatedly. >> you had a
long 10 seconds. be grateful. ladies and gentlemen, thank you. gentlemen, thank you very much. this committee appreciates the service of the people you
to the rea -- syria. >> this is where the clintons lived when they were professors at fayetteville. bill was driving hillary down the road to go to the air or. they saw the house and it was for sale. hillary pointed out and said that it was a cute house. he took her to the airport and pick her up a month later and said, i bought your dream house. you have to marry me. i cannot live there alone. that was the fourth time they proposed. it was a small ceremony. hillary was retaining her own name. bill did not seem to be bothered by that. -- wheny sold virginia they told virginia, she gasped. when they told hillary's mother, she cried. they got married in fayetteville. they had successful jobs as law professors and they finished law school.
they reached a plateau where they had achieved a lot of things. >> water program on first lady hillary clinton. see it saturday at 7:00 p.m. on c-span. live on monday, our series continues with first lady laura bush. >> the house adjourned early so republicans to attend a party retreat. they will hear from political strategists and take place in policy discussions. members returned to washington for legislative work on monday. before they adjourned, they debated and passed the arm though. it spends $956 billion over 10 years. by $8s the snap program billion over a decade. it also and the direct payment farm subsidies. today' beginning with the
agricultural party chairman, frank lucas. might consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. lucas: thank you, mr. speaker. my colleagues, this has been a long and seemingly epic journey that the house agriculture committee that is been upon. mr. peterson, myself, our colleagues literally three years -- actually four when you consider the beginning hearings under then chairman peterson, to start this process. we have all discussed the details. we'll discuss the details more in greater length in just a moment on this final conference report that reflects the net result of both the senate and house work. but i would say this, whatever your feelings might be about the policy issues involved within the bill, understand this formal conference that's now come to a conclusion, soon i hope to be tified by the body, reflects
at the committee level, at the floor level in the house, and i think in the conference level how legislation should be put together. many people criticize us and this body as dysfunctional. but if they look at all of the amendments we considered every time we took the farm bill up in the committee, all of the debate, all of the discussion, if they consider the amazing amount of amendments we considered on the floor of the united states house and all the debate and discussion and votes, if they take note of how long and how much effort the principals and the conferees put in to putting this conference report together, they would understand that this bill, while everyone may not agree with every line, every word, every policy in it, this bill reflects , unlike almost any that have been done for years, how it should be done. good men and women of different
opinion working to get to a final product. i hope this reflects a change in how we'll do our business here across the board. but i'm proud of what we have done and i'm proud of how we have done t i'm proud of the reforms and savings. i'm proud of my ranking member and all my colleagues who have been involved. reserve the balance of my time, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from oklahoma reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from minnesota is recognized. mr. peterson:thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. peterson:today as the chairman said after nearly four years of work the house is finally considering the 2014 farm bill conference report. it's been a challenging and frustrating process. i think everybody will agree. but through it the ag committee persevered and we do what we have always done, work together.
the report before us today represents a compromise. i know this is rare in washington, but that's what needed to actually get something done around this place. i didn't get everything i wanted. the chairman didn't get everything he wanted. that's how the compromise works. for example, there's been a lot of discussion about dairy, but we are moving away from the olet dairy program to a new program that -- from the old dairy program to a new program that is much more sensible, that has market signals in it to deal with overproduction. the only question i have is whether they are going to be strong enough. we'll find out as we go through the process. in the body title i'm still disappointed we didn't go to 500 acres t would have been the smart thing to dofment but wasn't to be. at the end of the day i believe my reservations are outweighed by the need to provide a long-term certainty for agriculture and nutrition programs and the many positive improvements and reforms included in the final bill. among other thention the
conference report will protect and improve the crop insurance system, probable lith most important safety net, continues sugar polcy, streamlines conservation programs so that we can continue to preserve our natural resources, provides disaster assistance for livestock producers, applies conservation protections to crop insurance, and recognizes the growing consumer demand for fresh fruits, vegetables, local foods, and organics. in closing i want to thank the chairman for his work and congrat him for -- congratulate him for getting to us work with us to get to final conclusion here. also for his members and our members for the -- their support in hanging in there to get to this point. i also want to thank the agriculture committee staff who have been working so hard over these last years night and day through all these different situations we have been in. and i would like to submit their names for the record, if that is ok. again, mr. speaker, this process has gone on too long.
we need to conclude it today. i urge my colleagues to support the conference report. yield back. reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from minnesota reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from massachusetts is recognized. mr. mcgovern: i yield myself two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minute. mr. mcgovern: i want to thank chairman lucas and ranking member peterson for all their hard work on this very difficult bill. i admire their tenacity and i admire their passion on issues dealing with agriculture. there are some good things in this bill, to be sure. but there are some things that i simply cannot accept. i think as we discuss this farm bill that we should remind ourselves of a few simple facts. facts like this, hunger exists in the united states of america. not a single congressional district in this country is hunger free. our food banks, our food pantries, the people on the frontlines in the fight against hunger simply cannot do any more. they are stretched to the limits. one final fact, this bill will
make hunger worse in america not better. if this bill passes, thousands and thousands of low-income americans will see their already meager food benefits shrink, for what? why? to meet some arbitrary deficit reduction goal? to pay the cost of the give aways and crop insurance program to pay for the sweetheart deals for the sushi rice growers and peanut farmers and god knows who else? i know many of my colleagues would just like this whole farm bill issue to go away. they want to pass a bill and forget about and move on to something else. but, mr. speaker, the people who will hurt by this bill aren't going away. they can't forget about it and move on to something else because they'll suffer. they will have to do -- they'll have to make do with less food tomorrow than they have today. i have heard all the arguments trying to justify this $8.6 billion cut in snap. well, it's just a loophole or it could have been a lot worse. or the states should pick up the slack, or local governments or churches or food banks or the
tooth fairy. those arguments are easy to make from the comfort of our own warm homes and full bellies, but they ring hollow to an elderly person who will have to take their medicine on an empty stomach, or child who will have to skip breakfast before going to scoo. i think it's wrong and cannot support it. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from oklahoma is recognized. r. lucas: mr. speaker, i yield to one of my outstanding subcommittee chairmen, the gentleman from arkansas, mr. crawford, one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from arkansas is recognized for one minute. mr. crawford: i want to thank chairman lucas and ranking member peterson for putting in so much hard work and dedication getting where we are today. and i echo ranking member's sentiments to the staff. thank you very much for everything that you have done. after more than three years of being involved in a farm bill process, i'm proud to support a final product that not only greatly benefits producers but deploys investments and jobs to rural america. despite our sharp regional differences we prevailed in
crafting commodity programs that promote regional fairness by providing a strong safety net that protects all producers from market risk. we can finally provide relief to our cattlemen t. rural development funding will be critical. while conservation and forestry programs will preserve our natural resources for years to come. although i'm pleased with the farm bill today i'm disappointed we left important issues on the table like fixing country of origin labeling for the meat industry. we could have gone further on relieving regulations on small farmers. even though i believe we could have done more, i'm proud of the conservative reforms we have made in stood stamp program by elimb -- food stamp program by eliminating waste. the agriculture committee accomplished tough goal by consolidating tozzes of programs. appreciate the patience of all our produces through this process. i strongly urge a yes vote on
this report and yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does -- the gentleman from oklahoma reserves. the gentleman from minnesota is recognized. mr. peterson: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from california, mr. costa. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized for two minutes. mr. costa: thank you very much, mr. speaker. i rise in support of this conference committee report. there are a lot of reasons why, first i'd like to commend the chairman and the ranking members of both the house and the senate ag committees and my fellow conferees and the staff for all the hard work that went into reaching this agreement. while this is not a perfect bill, there never is, this agreement is a result of more than four years' of bipartisan negotiations. two marathon committee meeting markups, multiple floor debates. this bill almost reminds me of the movie "groundhog day" because it seems to come back and back again. for my home state of california, the leading agriculture state in the nation, this farm bill is a dramatic investment in many of the specialty crops for research, market production, and
the development programs which benefit our vegetable and fruit producers of which we produce over half the nation's supply. these programs not only help my constituents produce the safest and most nutritious fruits and vegetables that we eat throughout the nation, but also throughout the world. just as important for my district are the disaster relief programs that help farmers, ranchers, and dairymen and producers through these difficult times. many may not be aware but california's facing the driest, driest year on record which jeopardizes both food production and jobs in my district. this bill contains programs to provide help when disaster strikes, from drilling wells to direct assistance to growers or katelemen who have been hurt by this devastating drought. while i support conference committee report, i am disappointed they did not take the opportunity to resolve the meat labeling issue that threatens our beef and poultry producers and our important trading partners, canada and mexico, or deemed critical and
are dealing with us and the world trade organization. i'm currently drafted legislation on a bipartisan basis to try to fix this labeling issue once and for all. this debate, though, has dragged on for way too long. let's give farmers and ranchers and dairy producers the certainty that they deserve through our five-year farm bill. now is the time to get this farm bill done by passing this conference committee report. i thank you, mr. speaker, and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from minnesota reserves. the gentleman from massachusetts is recognized. mr. mcgovern: i'm happy to yield three minutes to the gentleman from wisconsin, mr. kind. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from wisconsin is recognized for three minutes. mr. kind: i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. the gentleman is recognized for three minutes. mr. kind: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i want to thank my good friend from massachusetts for yielding this time and for the leadership he's shown on the nutrition title and for the plight of hunger throughout our country. it's commendable. mr. speaker, i have been here for a few farm bills in the past. i used to be a member of the agriculture committee. i certainly appreciate how very
difficult it is to put together a bipartisan farm bill with so many different moving parts. i have all the respect and admiration for the leadership in the committee, but i also sense that we have reached a point of fatigue and exhaustion. people just want this farm bill to go away after years of being worked on. i appreciate that, too. but we are only given one opportunity every five or in this case seven years to reform farm policy to make it better, make it bert for our family farms, make it more responsible for the american taxpayer, to make production agriculture work for all americans, and i'm afraid this farm bill yet again pulls up short. i would beseech my colleagues to take additional time to work on some reform measures that do make sense. rather than looking at another $8.6 billion in cuts to the nutrition tight on top of previous cuts that have already been had, let's look at some of these subsidy programs. i am afraid the bill before us today maintains huge taxpayer subsidies that go to a few but very large agribusinesses at the expense of our family farmers around the country. it's going to lead to grte